Hats off to the PNP men and women who planted 11,214 assorted trees within their areas of assignments. The activity, according to a news item sent by PCpt. Marnie D. Abellanida through the PNP Press Corps chat group was part of the police organization’s “Makakalikasan” project under the “Plant a Tree Program: The PNP’s New Normal of Disaster Preparedness and Response” by Chief PNP Debold M. Sinas.
From the news item, I gathered that PNP Cordillera RD PBGen. R’win Pagkalinawan had his hands soiled by leading the ceremonial tree planting activity where a total of 100 coffee and 50 lemon seedlings were planted all around designated planting sites in Camp Major Bado Dangwa, in La Trinidad, Benguet. Well done Sir!
Since the directive of PNP Chief Sinas is in coordination with the DENR and LGUs, then maybe the “Plant a Tree” program involves local farmers who may help plant seedlings of fruit-bearing trees especially in areas where marijuana plantations were destroyed, and be the beneficiaries of the same.
With its involvement in forest protection, it appears that the PNP has its hands full. Lately, the police organization was into an anti-illegal drugs campaign, apprehension of persons with warrants, at the same time they are frontliners in the fight vs. COVID-19.
What I am waiting to see is if it can arrest personalities involved in illegal gambling. It is public knowledge that government lotto alongside jueteng has been operational, but no campaign against the latter has been pursued.
It is also public knowledge that illegal gambling along Legarda, Kayang, Otek and La Trinidad, and an illegal cockpit at Asin road allegedly overseen by a public lawyer and an “intel” officer have been operating since last year.
This is not new as it has been on social media since the COVID-19 pandemic hit us in March, last year. This time, it comes as an official public advisory by the government of Sadanga, Mountain Province.
On Facebook, the item with the heading “Public Advisory to all kailyan ay e-Sadanga”, it announced that the Municipal Inter-Agency Task Force (MIATF) has promulgated community responses to the “new reality” of living with the virus.
In the advisory, it said that “everyone should take a glass of warm water with lemon or calamansi squeeze everyday” to boost one’s immune system. It further advised that “everyone who gets infected of COVID-19, common colds, flue (sic) or any other variant of virus are mandated to do “Soob”(inhalation of hot steam) two times a day preferably in the morning and in the evening.”
The public advisory further said, “All the prohibitions or restrictions such as lockdowns, 14 day quarantine and travel bans and other prohibitions or restrictions that used to be imposed are hereby lifted and discouraged as community response. These action (sic) are more damaging to our economic community life and are counter productive (sic).”
The public advisory also announced and I quote, “No travel ban against anyone regardless of the purpose of travel shall be imposed.” And, “No travel documents such as Test Results, Medical papers and Travel Authority are required in coming in and traveling out of the municipality.”
I was told that one reason for the advisories was because the local folks looked at their situation as if they are in a war as those manning the checkpoints are in full battle gear. Apparently, the advisories were results of consultations with the barangays.
As for the calamansi squeeze and the “soob” or hot steam inhalation, these have been practiced by many even prior to the pandemic. However, it has not been scientifically proven that these therapies can kill coronavirus.
Although, steam therapy can relieve a runny nose, a cold or flu; the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) nor the World Health Organization (WHO) are not aware of any scientific studies that show steam therapy can cure COVID-19.
It hurts to be snubbed in your own turf, especially when one is a public official of the LGU. The only way to get back is to snub people in return. This was exactly what happened at the groundbreaking of a proposed mall project inside the Benguet State University.
Municipal officials of La Trinidad were invited to the MOA-signing program for the proposed four-storey mall inside BSU but they decided not to attend because the proponents and BSU officials concerned did not involve the LGU in the first place.
La Trinidad Mayor Romeo K. Salda who was the lone municipal official in the event seemingly made the faces of BSU officials and the mall builders bitter when he bluntly told them that it was his first time to attend a groundbreaking ceremony for a project whose papers and permits have yet to be processed.
The stern warning by Mayor Salda was that no construction activity will push through unless the mall project’s documentary requirements and permits, including the conduct of a free and prior informed consent (FPIC) with indigenous cultural communities, shall have been secured.
By the way, Vice Mayor Roderick Awingan said that BSU lands are classified for educational purposes and have yet to be converted to commercial use. No application for reclassification is on file with the municipal government, not even a pending application for the issuance of a building permit.
“Kakailyan, kasapulan yu kadi ti tulong?” (Provincemates or townmates, do you need help). Thousands of tarps with these words were unusually posted along roadsides, sari-sari stores, eateries and even private houses in Benguet.
The posters have a hidden purpose. In fact it shows the picture of the caretaker representative of Benguet who has been telling mayors, municipal and barangay officials that he will run for congressman in 2022.
A barangay kapitan and a mayor told me that big bucks are being distributed to LGU officials. Good for them. Problem is that he is not a real kailyan and will never be. If he was, then he should have been helping his kailyans long before becoming caretaker.